Lady Hester Stanhope
All this talk about travel and vacation has us compelled to learn a bit more about the women who spent their lives exploring and adventuring. That’s how we stumbled upon Lady Hester Stanhope. Lady Hester was a British socialite, traveler, wanderer and eccentric.
She was born in 1776 and during her early years she played Chief of Household to British Prime Minister, William Pitt. Upon finishing her duties to the Prime Minister, Lady Hester travelled to Greece and the Ottoman Empire. It was en route to Cairo, that she became shipwrecked in Rhodes, Greece. Having lost all of her possessions in the shipwreck, Lady Hester was forced to wear Turkish men’s clothes. From this day forth, she dressed in men’s clothes for the rest of her life.
Lady Hester continued her travels exploring Gibraltar, Malta, the Ionian Islands, the Peloponnese, Athens, Constantinople, Rhodes, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. Along her way, she met kings, sheikhs, tribesmen and brigands; she charmed them all with her fearless attitude and her brash style. Whilst in Syria, Lady Hester discovered a medieval Italian manuscript and went on a full blown archeological expedition to search for the treasure that the manuscript pointed to. She never found the treasure, but she continued to tour the Middle East, eventually referring to herself as ‘The Queen of the Desert’.
Lady Hester ended her life as a recluse in Sidon, Lebanon. She is known today as an explorer, adventurer, pioneer and rule breaker.
“I have nothing to fear… I am the sun, the stars, the pearl, the lion, the light from heaven.”